Safety means this: the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
If you follow politics or read the news or have a politically passionate friend, this word has been a buzz word for months now. (Rest assured this is not a post about politics!) I enjoy learning, on my own time and in my own way. So often when a word becomes a buzz word or I feel is being used frequently, I like to look up the meaning and ponder over the use and if it’s truly the correct word. (You were forewarned that I am different!) I think it’s important to know the meanings of the words we use, to understand their meaning and use them correctly.
This is a word I have often considered, especially after I became a mom. The moment my firstborn was laid on my chest, there arose this fierce and overwhelming love and desire to do whatever I needed to do to protect him, to keep him safe. That same love and fierceness arose when the second son was laid on my chest not quite 4 years later. I do fully realize that I am not in control, God has shown that to me numerous times and He still reminds me through my husband and children. I cannot manage and control everything so I have had to learn a different level of faith.
My story is that, my story. I have a cross designed for me to bear and even that I cannot bear alone, only with God’s help. So keeping that in mind, the things I fear for my children may be different than yours.
My current lesson for my boys ties in with last week’s blog post, kindness. School has started and with it, fear that the other children will not like him. My oldest is his mother’s child and I have taught him fears he didn’t need to carry. It breaks my heart to know he heard me voice my own fears and took them on for himself. This means I am daily reminding him that he and I are made in God’s image and that he is exactly who God made him to be! I am reassuring him that friends can like different things and still be friends.
I am teaching him the safety of kindness. The safety is simple. When we choose meanness or rudeness or being unkind, I feel like it comes back around tenfold. With choosing to be kind, there is no guarantee that everyone else will make the same choice, but it takes the spark out of a fight.
Fighting is a choice I have made often and with consequences that I still sometimes face. I fought my parents, my siblings, preachers, and church, friends, relationships, even extended family members have faced that wall of self protection. I felt, perhaps better worded to: I was robbed of the safety that most grow up knowing. Not for lack of parents’ efforts, please do not misunderstand this. Events happen outside a parent’s control, even outside a person’s control. And in an instant, the time it takes to snap a finger, safety is a word, not a feeling. Safety in that instant doesn’t even become a memory, for me it was an idea but with no real recollection of what it felt like or what it looked like. (Which is a whole “fun” journey when I got married! But we will explore that another day!) The pain in another’s eyes when I see them and we both remember the friendship lost because of my choice to flee and fight against safety. The apology but never quite being able to forgive myself.
This has become the biggest area in which I am dedicating myself to seek peace. It’s also the area I have failed the most often. Given my conservative background, I never quite fit with the others. The “English” people. I dress different, I don’t always follow current style and fashion, and even if I try, I can’t quite get comfortable in my own skin. I have friends who left the church and they blossomed beautifully, I wasn’t one. Some of that is personality and confidence, and the safety available for them to be them.
I do not write this to bemoan the facts or whine and want pity for life to be different. I enjoy my life and am usually content. (Usually being a very key word and addressing that will be another blog post in the future when I have maybe mastered that skill.) I do write this to maybe stir in our hearts some thoughts.
Considering what the word safety means, and what it’s also used for regarding safe words etc. Mamas, how can we promote safety in our families, in our friend circles, in our small groups? How can we use this word in our lives, regarding our children and allowing them to feel safe to talk to us, no matter what. To encourage others to be honest, to forgive, to love, to encourage, to correct. This is no easy task, I am well aware. I can give you an entire list of “Do Nots” but I won’t. As a mama myself, as a person who often fears her safety net will vanish, I struggle to always make the right choices when it comes to my boys.
I have failed hard, often, and so many times. I acknowledge my weaknesses and my wrongs, I often apologize and try to be better.
As I finish up this post, I wonder if it seems absent minded or illogical. I also think of an old hymn we used to sing when I was a girl. “Safe in the arms of Jesus.” See, I will mess up and make mistakes. I will be hurt by others, in fact my heart is reeling from a recent personal blow. However, there is one place I am always safe. I am safe from the world, from the ridicule, from the frustrations. That place is in Jesus’ arms. While physically it’s not a place, for me it kind of is. On the bad days when the hurts are big and the day is long, I seek my refuge in my room. I curl up under my blankets and sob and pray. I beg Jesus to take it away, to give me a life of ease and perfection. So far, that has not happened and to be fair, I know He says in the Bible it never will, but what does happen is as I pray, I give it to Him. My weary mind, my aching heart, I give everything contained in them to Him. That is safety to me, to give it to Him and trust Him to keep it for me.
So tell me, what does the word “safe” mean for you, personally or even for your family? I’d love your feedback!
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8